There’s been a lot of change in the global soft drinks market over the past two decades as consumer preferences shift and alternatives appear on the scene. According to a new report from Innova Market Insights, juices and carbonates may still be the two most active subcategories worldwide, but growth is much faster in alternative areas. For example, ready-to-drink (RTD) sports drinks saw launch numbers increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26% over 2014–2018, compared with 12% CAGR for iced tea and coffee and 10% CAGR for “other” soft drinks, including novelties such as herbal drinks, jelly drinks, and vinegar drinks.

Flavor trends also demonstrate the changing face of the market. The fastest-growing flavors in the five years from 2013 to 2018 include matcha tea (+49% CAGR), apple cider vinegar (+21% CAGR), and kombucha (+21% CAGR), all of which are well known and liked in Asia and are now distinguishing themselves on a global platform.

As well as the emergence of new categories, the overlap between existing varieties is continuing. Hello Hybrids—one of Innova’s Top 10 Trends for 2020—is perhaps nowhere as important as in the soft drinks arena. “Category definitions are blurring all the time,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, in a press release. “For example, in the United States, Odwalla has recently developed the Smoobucha, which is a blend of fruit smoothie with fermented kombucha.”

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